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I am looking for alternative methods of digital printing.

My project is to print my art at home, but I am not satisfied with the (lack of) artistic quality of commercial laser printers, or inkjet printers. They are not good with colors, usually, don't allow you to print on art paper, the process always uses the same CMYK colors, prints age badly, etc.

I would like the printing process to give additional texture, or specific identity, or to allow a wider range of paper types to the printed works, quite like the Risograph machines do (see here for example). (Some of the Risograph "quirks" include separator marks, smudging, uneven coverage, registration errors, etc.)

But these machines are not really for home workshops: they are meant for large runs of thousands of prints, cost an arm and take up half a room.

And if I went to a local printshop that uses Riso machines and asked them to print 20 different images, they would probably either reject the order or charge me hundreds.

I would like to seek similar results, but to print different images each time, and in a way that doesn't take up too much room in my house.

Maybe such a machine exists, where the user can refill ink themselves (maybe a 1-ink printer that accepts a wide range of inks?), to achieve unique and interesting results? Wikipedia lists a wide range of printing techniques, but it's very difficult to know which ones are best to print art to display or sell. And I am having a hard time thinking that every single one of these technologies has been replaced by the home printer.

What are alternative methods of digital printing that can produce aesthetic or artistic results?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – PieBie
    Mar 10 at 7:46
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(These are not digital. But I leave the answer)

This is a broad question. But some interesting options to unleash your artistic expression are:

Silk Screen print.

You can draw with some Wax crayons on the silk. You can print from one piece or several hundred if you want. You can mix ink directly when printing so each one would be a bit different than the rest.

You do not need to do that digital part of making positives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_printing

Lithography

The true lithography is taking one big flat porous stone, and using the same principle of repulsion of oily and water, you draw with oil-based wax crayons, wet the stone and add oily inks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithography

Engraving

Take a metal plate and scratch a drawing on it. The ink will stay on the lines and will pass to the paper using its techniques.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engraving

Etching

You can also use acid to prepare the plates.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etching

Woodcut

This is a variation using wood instead of metal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodcut

Linocut

or using linoleum as your base.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linocut

You can even use a potato using the same principles


One with some digital component is dissolving the toner made on one print and transferring it into another paper. I do not know if it has a name. It was an exercise we used at the university.


I am sure you can add a digital component to every technique.

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  • Thank you! What I am curious about is processes which, like the pen plotter, are half-way between digital and DIY. A good example would be the Miscreen a4, even though it's not a printer, it lets people use the inks they want and the result has both a digital feel and a handmade feel. Mar 9 at 0:12
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    Nice video. That is actually "Screen Printing" The different part is the way to prepare the screen. The digital print is to make the stencil, then the traditional silk print.
    – Rafael
    Mar 9 at 0:15
  • Yes, I know 😉 I think it's a good example of a process that uses both digital and DIY elements. People want to tinker and do things in original ways, while being computer-controlled, and there should be a printing tool that does that... Mar 9 at 0:17
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    Probably add these comments to your original question. It would be interesting to see some new gadgets.
    – Rafael
    Mar 9 at 0:18

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